by Jennifer Carcaci-Trumble
From the small backyard shows to the large national shows, it takes a lot of people to make sure a show runs smoothly. Show committees rely on many volunteers. Make absolutely no mistake, without the volunteers there would be no shows. Most shows make it known to participants, guests, and show personnel if they did not have their volunteers, the show would not exist. Volunteers are thanked for their time and efforts.
Why would you want to volunteer at a horse show? You could bring your own talents and maybe teach someone. Also you could learn a lot from seeing everything from a new perspective. You also can get a new understanding of the commitment and time people put in just so others can have fun at the horse shows. It really doesn’t matter what age a volunteer is. If you are horse savvy, a good listener and willing to follow directions, you are an asset to a show.
Let’s start with some of the jobs no one really thinks about because it’s either done ahead of time or behind the scenes.
Ground crew
Days before the show, the ground crew conditions the arena, finds all equipment and makes sure it is in good working condition. If something needs to be fixed they fix it, and if it cannot be fixed, they get it replaced. When it’s time to set up the ring they take out their trusty measuring tape. They measure out where each obstacle, letter, fence, gate, judge stand, flower pot and barrel belong. During the show they also wet the arena down to keep dust at a minimum. They also drag the arena between classes to make sure there is proper footing. Then again they set everything back up.
Office crew
The office crew’s job starts weeks even months before a show. They keep track of early registrations and fees paid. When registration day is here they have to take in all new registrations, make sure all health certificates and all of the shot records are up-to-date. This can be a pretty hectic job. Everyone wants to hurry to get checked in and make their first class. These volunteers are patient, kind and very structured.
Stable manager
A few days before the show, the stable manager checks out the barn for safety problems. They change light bulbs if they need to be changed. They also make sure that there is enough shavings for the show, and make sure there is proper manure refuge. Stable managers assign stalls and take all deposits. They are the ones that take care of small problems that may arise. They do it diplomatically and with a smile.
Gatekeeper and Ribbon runner
Gatekeeper and ribbons runners are perfect jobs for older children who want to help. The gatekeeper opens and closes the gate in a timely manner. Being careful not to get too close to the last horse when closing. Ribbon Runners hand out the class ribbons. You stand in the middle of the arena, when their number is called they will come to you. Hand them the ribbon with a smile.
Scoring crew
During the show the scoring crew will add up each and every score and post them. They also keep track of them for the year. This way if you get enough points you get an award at the end of the year.
They make announcements prior to each class, so people are ready on time.
Duties include announcing:

  • the Judges instructions to the riders.
  • a rider’s name, number and horse’s name entering the arena for a specific test.
  • results.

Announcers are also the ones that will provide any emergency instructions that need to be followed in case of impending bad weather.
Some other volunteer jobs at different shows include scribes, jump judge, timer and barrel setters. These are just a few of the volunteer jobs that are available at shows. To become a volunteer, contact the coordinator or the show you are interested in. They will get you started.